In 1755, Sir Francis Dashwood, 11th Baron le Despencer founded The Hellfire Club on the banks of the Thames near Marlow, Buckinghamshire. The members, known as the Monks of Medmenham, amused themselves with obscene parodies of Franciscan rites, and with orgies of drunkenness and debauchery, in line with their motto Fay ce que voudras (Do What You Will).
Their modern-day counterparts have had their merry way with Blenheim bowling in recent years, but all that drunkenness and debauchery has apparently taken its toll, as they fell to a second defeat of the season to the fine, upstanding and downright moral denizens of the Blenheim Park Cricket Club, plus Lee Keyes.
Medmenham won the toss, and gave the home team first dig. Boardman has been in some nick recently and his partner Keyes in none, but in an obscene parody of their own, recent form was overturned as Keyes started peppering the boundaries short and (very) long. Three sixes and five fours from the blade of the pugnacious Battenberg-fancier, before he unaccountably spooned a long-hop into the safe hands of the opposing skipper on 48. Boardman cut to slip for 15, and Lal entertained the small crowd with wildly adventurous calling and running, before being joined by Cox, which put a prompt stop to that.
Late in his career, Cox has discovered un flair Gallic, and has also discovered that fullish balls on off stump can be driven for runs, rather than just patted back to the bowler. Armed with this revelation, he set about the opposition bowling with what passes for gusto in the Cox households. He and Jake Spearman Did What They Willed in a fifty partnership that took BPCC to a creditable 196-4 off their 35 overs, with the senior man ending on 59*, his second most notable score ending in 9* for the Club.
You wait ages for a Bussell, then three come along at once; the top three Medmenham batsmen sharing that surname. A was the pick of the bunch, top-scoring with 56; H battling his way to 19 and J scoring 8. Bagwell again showed his frailty against very slow bowling from very short players; 13-year-old Luka Jordan having bowled him in the away game, 53-year-old Phil Spearman doing the same at home. But Medmenham refused to lie down. Embury clubbed some boundaries before Jake took a stinger of a c&b, George produced a magic ball to castle Yarwood, and Vish pinged a direct hit to run out Atkinson and leave the Monks 25 short of victory. Three wickets each for Spearmen pere et fils, and the winning team repaired to the Woodstock Arms for some drunkenness and debauchery of their own.
BPCC 196-4 (M Cox 59*, L Keyes 48) Medmenham 172 (J Spearman 3-31, P Spearman 3-35)
BPCC won by 24 runs